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‘Civilizing’ the pastoral frontier: land grabbing, dispossession and coercive agrarian development in Ethiopia


Regassa, Asebe; Hizekiel, Yetebarek; Korf, Benedikt (2019). ‘Civilizing’ the pastoral frontier: land grabbing, dispossession and coercive agrarian development in Ethiopia. Journal of Peasant Studies, 46(5):935-955.

Abstract

This paper analyzes frontier dynamics of land dispossessions in Ethiopia’s pastoral lowland regions. Through a case study of two sedentarization schemes in South Omo Valley, we illustrate how politics of coercive sedentarization are legitimated in the ‘civilizing’ impetus of ‘improvement schemes’ for ‘backward’ pastoralists. We study sedentarization schemes that are implemented to evict pastoralist communities from grazing land to be appropriated by corporate investors. It is argued that frontier imaginations of pastoral lowlands legitimate coercive practices of ‘emptying’ the lowlands for investments. ‘Improvement schemes’ enroll private investors and enterprises affiliated with Ethiopia’s ruling party in the politics of ‘thickening’ state presence in the pastoral frontier. Agricultural extension packages serve to expand state control over sedentarized pastoralists and make lowland resources more extractable, for investors and for the ruling regime.

Abstract

This paper analyzes frontier dynamics of land dispossessions in Ethiopia’s pastoral lowland regions. Through a case study of two sedentarization schemes in South Omo Valley, we illustrate how politics of coercive sedentarization are legitimated in the ‘civilizing’ impetus of ‘improvement schemes’ for ‘backward’ pastoralists. We study sedentarization schemes that are implemented to evict pastoralist communities from grazing land to be appropriated by corporate investors. It is argued that frontier imaginations of pastoral lowlands legitimate coercive practices of ‘emptying’ the lowlands for investments. ‘Improvement schemes’ enroll private investors and enterprises affiliated with Ethiopia’s ruling party in the politics of ‘thickening’ state presence in the pastoral frontier. Agricultural extension packages serve to expand state control over sedentarized pastoralists and make lowland resources more extractable, for investors and for the ruling regime.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:29 July 2019
Deposited On:26 Oct 2018 09:39
Last Modified:16 Jul 2019 01:01
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0306-6150
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/03066150.2017.1420060

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